Dr. Ian Malcolm, a fictional character in Michael Crichton’s Jurassic Park franchise, early on in the first movie questions whether or not we should do something just because we can.
In the case of another movie franchise, the Matrix, which just saw the release of the fourth film in the series, the answer is a resounding no.
Sci-fi nerd at heart, I loved the first movie in the series. It was original. It was groundbreaking. It brought something different to the table.
The Matrix: Resurrections brought none of the originality that the original trilogy did.
Some aspects of the movie were scene-for-scene re-shoots of the original film with different actors, and other scenes literally had scenes from the original movies sprinkled in.
To be honest, I found the movie to be boring and full of unmemorable characters. Three-quarters of the movie passed before I finally started getting into it, and by the time I felt myself actually drawn into the film, the credits were rolling.
Personally, the only bright spot of the film was the introduction of Neil Patrick Harris’s “Analyst” character, a role he played well.
I know that in this day-and-age, franchises make money for movie studios.
Still, I question why the director or the movie studio itself felt the need to go back to this particular well.
Judging by the audience reception, I’m not the only one who feels this way.
On Rotten Tomatoes, the film scores a 63 per cent in both movie critic and audience scores.
Further, in between Dec. 22, 2021, and Jan. 3, 2022, the the Matrix: Resurrections made barely $100 million US at the box office, compared to its $190 million US production budget; a number likely much lower than actual when advertising is taken into account.
For a huge box-office draw like the Matrix franchise once was, where $100 million would have been a sure thing on an opening weekend, hitting that milestone two weeks into its run can’t help but feel like a disappointment.
I feel it also says something when Lilly Wachowski, one-half of the creative team behind the original Matrix trilogy, opted to not take part in the sequel feeling that the story was already complete, leaving directing duties solely to her older sister, Lana.
There are multiple reasons why the movie was what could be deemed a box-office bomb.
The world is still gripped in a pandemic.
The movie was released on HBO Max at the same time as it hit theatres, so many people could have chosen to stay away from the theatres and instead watched it at home.
Or, it could be that well into the twenty-first century, a lot of the themes and technology of the Matrix franchise just doesn’t interest people any more.
Hollywood is capable of creating all sorts of movie magic, however, I agree with Dr. Malcolm’s sentiment … just because something can be done, it doesn’t necessarily mean it should be.
The Matrix: Resurrections is a case-in-point.